All hands on deck--Osafo-Maafo charges banks, industry

August 9, 2017
Source: Benson AFFUL/thebftonline.com/Ghana
All hands on deck--Osafo-Maafo charges banks, industry

The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has said the time is right for banks to partner government and industry to build a viable private sector that can create jobs to absorb the large pool of unemployed youth, as the public sector does not have the capacity to do so.

Referring to the number of universities that have been established in the country which churn out thousands of graduates every year, the Senior Minister argued that graduates can no longer depend on the public sector for jobs. He therefore charged the banks to provide affordable credit to enable industry expand their businesses.

 “If our economy is to go on the tangent the German economy has gone, then the public sector will not be the place to look for a job. [We must get to a point where] if you finish university you are either looking for a job in the private sector or by virtue of the type of training you have, you are employing yourself.

This is how I think we should all see the development of this nation. I am charging captains of industry to partner the banks, that’s why I am very happy that the banks have seen the need to come strongly in sponsoring this forum.

“Once the banks get involved, generally, we are heading in the right direction. The fact that they are involved means they have seen the policy of government right,” he said this at the 6th edition of the Ghana Economic Forum in Accra.

Mr. Osafo-Maafo, however, observed that most of the private universities offer more humanity courses as against the sciences, a development he believes is a result of the high cost of establishing a science and technology university compared to an arts-oriented university.

Out of the total number of universities in the country, which is about 72 private and 8 public, there is only four that offer purely science and technology programmes. That’s the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), University of Health and Allied Sciences, and on the private side is the Regent University of Science and Technology.

He said captains of industry as well as the banks should help the government achieve it job creation target, saying: “We should be able to accomplish this for the sake of Ghana. Let’s think about future generations, this generation should leave forever a foundation that will make Ghana the centre of industry in West Africa.”

Data from the Institute of Statistics, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, show that only 10 per cent of graduates find jobs after their first year of completing school.

The data also indicate that it may, therefore, take up to 10 years for a large number of graduates to secure employment due to varied challenges that ranged from the lack of employable skills, unavailability of funding capital for entrepreneurship, poor attitudes of graduates towards job opportunities, as well as the low capacities of industry to absorb the huge numbers.